GAFFNEY, S.C. – Graffiti branded walls and boarded up buildings have shut out what Lillie Edwards says used to be the light in her neighborhood.
“It makes me feel that we’ve forgotten that this is a neighborhood that should’ve never gotten to the state that it is,” Edwards said. “It seemed that no one was really concerned about the neighborhood.”
For the retired Greenville County School teacher, Gaffney’s Tank Branch community is home and she’s been pushing to bring change. She partnered with community leaders to bring those concerns to city council.
“It’s not kept up, that’ll give you a mentality of nobody cares for us,” said Cherokee County NAACP President Reverend Wilbert Jamison.
“The only way that we can improve things is taxes and nobody likes taxes. They want the services but they don’t want the taxes so we were just very fortunate to secure this from the Appalachain Council of Governments,” he said.
A $229,000 federal grant, along with $27,000 in matching funds from the city will revitalize the Tank Branch neighborhood.
The money will demolish rundown buildings and install security cameras and lighting to improve safety. A new park is also part of the plans Edwards says have been a long time coming.
“This is a start and I appreciate the start,” she said.
City leaders say they’re still in the early part of processing the grant but are looking to start putting that money to use by spring 2017.